Is news TV becoming a ‘national security hazard’?

Editorial in Business Standard:

“It should go without saying that the media has a role in informing and educating a citizenry about the issues of the day, providing background, context and holding the powerful to account. A case study in how not to go about this is currently being provided by the electronic media in its coverage of recent raids and counter-raids on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, in which two Indian soldiers have been killed, and one allegedly subjected to post-mortem mutilation.

“Instead of questioning the narrative, news television and some print outlets have instead blatantly beaten the drums of confrontation, hyping even relatively calm statements by the army chief into belligerent displays of national machismo. Coming at a time when the government is attempting to move forward on dialogue with Pakistan that is very much in the national interest, the question should be asked: are some of India’s news channels, and their pursuit of eyeballs, turning into a national security hazard?

“If the electronic media dragoons a weak Indian government into raising the ante with its Pakistani counterpart at a time when it needs instead to be an ally against the powerful Pakistan military’s ability to hijack the security agenda, then the national interest will suffer a serious blow. More, it will count as a signal ethical failure on the part of whichever media outlet is sacrificing context to sensationalism.

“A handful of bellicose television supremos cannot be allowed to dictate a foreign policy that hurts the interest of India’s citizens.”

***

Mani Shankar Aiyar in The Indian Express:

My friend, the cine artiste and poet, Farooque Sheikh, has summed it up better than I ever could. He describes the TRP war being whipped up by our hysterical TV anchors as “dangerously boring and boringly dangerous”.

It is precisely because one had anticipated outrages of the kind that occurred on Sunday, January 6 (and have a much longer ancestry than TV anchors and their guest cohorts are willing to acknowledge—such, for example, as revealed by Praveen Swami in The Hindu, that I have for so long been advocating “uninterrupted and uninterruptible dialogue” as the only way for India and Pakistan to resolve their issues and normalise their relations.

***

Editorial in The Hindu:

“Few spectacles have been as unedifying as the contemptible baying of warmongers these past days—most of it, it bears mention, emanating from TV studios located at a safe distance from the nearest bullet.”

Read the full BS editorial: Crossing a red line

Read the Express column: The hostility industry

Read the full Hindu editorial: Stop baying for blood

External reading: Was an Indian soldier decapitated?

4 Comments

  1. Pronoy Kumar Ghose

    Worthless media and pathless journalism guided by monetary benefits only wants got up sensation and spicy views to earn profit !! How they will understand the national and international interest and social welfare !!!

  2. Droid

    So what’s new in what BS is saying. Has this not been done by every media organisation with enough clout? If BS had the clout, they would do the same thing. But they never will be able to. Hence the sour grapes reaction. Infact, should we not be glad that there is atleast one media organisation that is digging out the dirt, and not falling in line with whatever their governmental overlords are saying. Wake up, BS.

  3. sasha

    must we always give in to the bully? what are the talks about anyways? walk over the headless bodies of soldiers but keep sharing the plates of biriyani.

  4. Dhananjay

    Just a thought: Could these TV channels have achieved the hysteria without covert support from the Govt of India? I feel the Centre was attempting to divert attention from the intense media pressure on it — and on politicians shooting their mouths off — in the aftermath of the brutal Delhi gang-rape.

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